DesignSpace London MD Richard Atkins reveals how for home cooks, the latest luxury is to have a purpose-designed second 'back' kitchen where all the hard work gets done.
Q: Tell us about the latest trend for back kitchens – what is it all about?
A: Back kitchens vary from a full catering style kitchen to a more dual-purpose area like a utility room that has some additional kitchen appliances or storage. When the back-of-house kitchen is a full catering kitchen the 'front of house kitchen' is used more for preparation of drinks and light meals. The back-of-house kitchen generally then features large almost commercial types of appliances and finishes like stainless steel. A dual-purpose space might be a utility room that just has some additional fridge and freezer space and some kitchen storage, so that the area can be used as additional preparation space that is more concealed from the main kitchen or dining area.
Q: What key elements do your clients want to see in their back kitchens?
A: Generally, we try to design a back-of-house kitchen with additional fridge space, an extra dishwasher and plenty of counter space. The key is to make sure that certain functions of preparation or cooking can be totally completed in the back-of-house kitchen area. For example, we would want to make sure there was storage space for knives and chopping boards if there was a lot of counter space planned, otherwise the space becomes reliant on constantly moving things from the main kitchen.
Q: If a back kitchen is part of a bigger project brief, does that free you up to be more creative with the main kitchen design?
A: If the back-of-house kitchen can take heavy duty appliances the design of the front of house kitchen is definitely simplified. It means that we can focus more on arranging things without so much consideration to how to integrate lots of appliances which means materials and volume of the units can be our focus.
Q: What key elements do you think make a back kitchen design most successful?
A: Lots of counter space, storage and a sensible connection to where food is served to or cleaned up from after a meal.
Q: Are back kitchens taking over from utility rooms as the engine room of the house?
A: Back of house kitchens are becoming increasingly popular but having a well-designed utility room is equally important. Having a designated, hidden space to dry clothes and store laundry is key to keeping other areas of the house clutter free!